Virgin axes Discovery SD services

Virgin Media has removed six standard definition channels as part of an ongoing move to promote HD TV.

The cable television company is unique among the largest digital TV platforms in that all of its current receiver base is HD compatible. Legacy SD-only receivers are no longer supported, so there's technically no need to duplicate services in both resolutions, beyond previously agreed carriage fees where an HD channel is locked into a different subscription tier.

As part of the move, six channels from Discovery are only available in HD from now on.

TLC SD (channel 167), Quest SD (172), Discovery Channel SD (250), Animal Planet SD (256), Eurosport 1 SD (523) and Eurosport 2 SD (524) have been removed.

TLC HD, Quest HD, Discovery HD and Animal Planet HD have moved to the old SD channel numbers, which had higher ranking slots on the channel list. Eurosport 1 HD and 2 HD were already listed ahead of the SD versions and remain on 521/522.

Where HD channels were previously only available with a higher-tier subscription, compared to the SD version, these have been made available to lower-tier subscribers for the first time.

Further changes to Virgin Media UK's channel line-up will take place on the 1st October 2019, when further channels from Discovery and Comcast (Sky / NBCUniversal) change positions. Viewers will see pop-up messages on affected channels advising them of the changes.

In the meantime, channel 218 (YourTV) will be vacated on Friday, when the channel closes down across all digital TV platforms.